Reluctance converted to enthusiasm

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, September 19, 2010

This past weekend Cliff and I took our girls camping at LakeLincoln State Park. Camping is one of my family’s favoritepastimes.

I used to hate camping.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am now as enthusiastic spending theweekend at the campground as a little kid. I just didn’t start outthat way.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Growing up, my parents were more spectator sports types thanoutdoor weekend warriors. During football season, we were either ata football game, or my parents were watching a game on thetelevision, with the sound turned off so that my dad could listento the play by play over the radio.

I rebelled against the spectator sport fanaticism of my parents.I enjoy attending football games, but deplore any kind of sports ontelevision. Football is televised at our house once a year – theSuper Bowl – and that is really only for the commercials.

Fortunately, my husband shares my feelings about televisedsports. My criteria for my future spouse was he had to beintelligent, funny, creative – and someone who would not spendevery Saturday or Sunday parked in front of the television.

My husband was raised by parents who loved camping and beingoutdoors. Many of his better stories of his childhood involve somecamping trip that he took with his parents and his twobrothers.

We lived in Washington, D.C., our first year of marriage. Fortwo Mississippi kids used to being surrounded by trees and grass,the huge buildings and miles and miles of city began to wear onus.

Cliff discovered a great campground fairly close to D.C. in theShenandoah National Park. He had his tent and all his campingsupplies. He talked about how much fun it was to camp, so I tookthe bait.

We set out for our weekend of camping in the early fall. As wedrove along Skyline Drive, we marveled at the spectacular fallcolors of the trees and the views.

At our campsite, Cliff quickly set up the tent and got ourcampsite laid out.

The temperature during the day was very comfortable, and we madea campfire and cooked a great supper.

Camping was turning out to be fun – until bedtime.

We had good sleeping bags, but no air mattresses. As night fell,so did the temperatures. Cliff snuggled close to me for warmth. Letme add here that Cliff is 6 feet tall and over 200 lbs. I am 5’3″and under 115 lbs.

Suffice it to say that my night was spent smashed against thewet, cold side of the tent, freezing; somehow a tree root had foundits way into my rib cage.

Meanwhile, Cliff slept the sleep of the innocent.

And so was my first primitive camping experience.

As the years passed, Cliff would mention every now and then thathe really would like to take our daughters camping. I sweetlyreminisced of my memories of my night on the tree root.

Not to be deterred, Cliff found a very small camper with realbeds, a full bathroom, and a neat little kitchen. He had resolvedall of my protests. So I was going to take another shot at becominga camper.

After the first trip with our girls, we were all hooked, toCliff’s satisfaction.

We have also found while camping we have valuable quality timewith our girls. Without television – and in close quarters – theart of communication comes into play.

The girls have had a great time meeting new friends at everycampground we’ve gone to. It has been our experience that most kidsof camping families have great adaptability to new socialsituations.

So I have transformed from the girl who wouldn’t camp into thegirl who can’t wait to go again.

My daughters will hopefully have among their criteria for afuture spouse – somewhere between genius and Superman – that hemust like camping.

Lifestyles Editor Rachel Brumfield can be reached at TheDAILY LEADER at 601-833-6961 ext. 134, by e-mail or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 39602.